What does this body have to do with me?

Hello Kristina,

Thank you for your inspiring words about resources as a replacement child. What struck me most were your words, “the life force per se …. was like a fountain of resilience,” working with a replacement child, this is something I repeatedly find.

Although there are times, when the belief in my own life force fades a bit, gets a little bit lost, it always comes back! That is something to rely upon, for the replacement children themselves, and also for me as a therapist.

I work a lot with the body in my therapeutic setting.

Photo Courtesy of Jared Rice
Photo Courtesy of Jared Rice

To be a body psychotherapist means to acknowledge and use the wisdom of the body when learning and developing. Besides the thoughts and the feelings, the body is a wonderful tool to understand what is going on, to receive information and to create new ways and attitudes in life.

I think it is something deeply confusing and maybe even exhausting for a replacement child, trying to bring together their own unclear identity with so many questions about who one is, with this body she or he is in, but somehow doesn´t fit together with its mind.

What do I have to do with this body?

What does this body have to do with me?

What do I have to do with this body?

This is how replacement children may feel, at times.

Under non-replacement-circumstances the interaction with the mother (or father) helps a child to understand and develop all the bodily feelings and emotions, so that the child, for example, understands: “Aaahhh, when my throat gets tight and my eyes become watery, and I have this specific feeling in my tummy, that means that I am sad!“ A mother or father who is mourning or occupied by other emotions because of loss, cannot finetune with the child, so the body sensations and the emotions and thoughts don´t really come together and form an identity.

The good news: the body is proof of the replacement child’s life force.

The good news: the body is proof that the replacement child really is here, in this world, and has, as all human beings, a right to live his or her own life! The life force per se is inseparably connected to the body.

So, feeling and discovering and mindfully respecting the body is a wonderful resource on the way to growth. For me as a therapist it is also very important and helpful to be in good contact with my body, since I believe, that not only our minds make contact, when people come together, but also our bodies.

That way a therapist can create an open, welcoming and accepting space for growth.

Claudia Schneider de Assis is a Therapist for Body Psychotherapy and Trauma. She is located in Munich, Germany

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